(CMR) A Haitian-American man from Florida on Tuesday became the first U.S. citizen to plead guilty to conspiring to kill Haiti’s president in 2021, admitting that he attended key meetings to carry out the assassination.
Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse was killed in an attack when armed men stormed his home in Port-au-Prince in 2021.
Joseph Vincent (58) became the fourth of 11 defendants charged in the Miami federal case to accept responsibility for his supporting role in the murder plot spanning South Florida, Haiti, and Colombia, the Miami Herald reported.
According to the Miami Herald, Vincent admitted that he met with a group of co-conspirators in Haiti on the eve of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7, 2021, in a factual statement filed with his plea agreement. He also wore a U.S. State Department pin to make himself look official to his Haitian counterparts, the statement says.
He also admitted to joining other co-conspirators in a vehicle that drove to the president’s home outside Port-au-Prince when a group of Colombian commandos killed him during an ambush.
District Judge Jose Martinez asked Vincent if all this information was “true” at Tuesday’s hearing. “Yes, it’s true, your honor,” Vincent told the judge, Miami Herald reported.
Vincent pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support in the assassination, providing that support, and conspiring to kill or kidnap a person outside the United States. He faces up to life in prison at his sentencing hearing before Judge Martinez on 9 February 2024.
At the hearing, federal prosecutor Frank Russo said: “Vincent provided advice to his co-conspirators about the Haitian political landscape, attended meetings with important Haitian political and community leaders, and frequently wore a U.S. State Department pin, which had the effect of leading others to believe that he was employed by the U.S. State Department.”
Vincent, a former informant with the Drug Enforcement Administration, is expected to be a key cooperating witness against other co-conspirators.